Friday, 11 November 2016

Silhouette Basics - Top 10 Tips to Troubleshoot Print and Cut

10 tips to Troubleshoot Print and Cut.  Silhouette Basics Tutorial by Nadine Muir for Silhouette UK

Hi, Nadine here with a Silhouette Basics tutorial with my top ten tips for mastering Print and Cut every time.  I hope these tips will help you troubleshoot any issues that you may be encountering, or prevent them in the future.

The premise of print and cut is very simple - marks are printed in the four corners of your page and the Silhouette machine reads these registration marks with it's optical eye allowing it to cut your shapes in exactly the correct position.  Have a wee read of Niki's beginner's guide tutorial if you've never tried Print and Cut before.  You might also be interested in my double-sided print and cut tutorial.

Top Tip # 1 - Lighting

The optical scanner needs to be able to see the registration marks, so if your room is too dark, the machine will have trouble detecting them.  I'm a night owl, so was initally confused when I had issues with print and cut if I was working into the small hours - doh!

Top Tip # 2 - No Shadows

Just as the room can't be too dark, if you shine a strong light at an angle towards the machine, this could create dark shadows.  This would also make it hard for the optical scanner to identify the registration marks.  Simply turning your machine around on your desk could be all that's needed.

Top Tip # 3 - Page settings

If your Design Page size on Silhouette Studio is set to A4 but Printer setting is Letter size or vice versa, your cuts will start out perfect, but will start to cut out of alignment as it reaches the bottom of the page.  So, make sure to match your real life page size to your Printer and also your Design Page Settings.

Top tip
Most of the Silhouette branded products are US Letter Sized instead of the more common A4 size that we are used to here in the UK.  Remember to change your Design Page and Printer settings when you're using these products.

Top Tip # 4 - White Sticker Trick for Coloured or Glossy Media

If you are printing onto media that isn't white, for example the Silhouette Printable Silver and Gold Foil or the Adhesive Kraft Paper, it's harder for the optical scanner to detect the registration marks.  Karen came up with a great little trick - add some little squares of white address labels in the four corners before printing.

Top Tip # 5 - Positioning on the Mat

Place the paper on the mat matching how it looks in Silhouette Studio (normally top left). The Silhouette will fail to register if the paper is too far right or down.  Rather than position the paper inside the outline grid on the mat, I find my machine tends to register on first try when I position the paper to cover the grid.

Top Tip # 6 - Check for Obstructions

Many pals have been at their wits end when their normally perfect print and cuts start failing.  The usual suspect - a rogue piece of vinyl that has obscured the optical eye! Sometimes the piece obstructing the eye is very tiny, so have a really close inspection.

Top Tip # 7 - Select the Correct Registration Style

There are two types, so make sure to pick the one corresponding to your machine.
I normally change the registration settings to get as much printable space as possible by making the length, thickness and inset as small as possible.  If you are having issues, reset the registration settings to the defaults, as this gives the optic eye a better chance to register.

Top Tip # 8 - Replace Low Ink or Fill In with Sharpie

If your printer is low on toner or ink, the registration marks might be too feint to register.  Replace your ink.  If like me, you've no patience, or a deadline to meet, try and see if a sharpie might help until you get your replacement cartridges.

Top Tip # 9 -  Don't Overlap the No Print Zone

If your designs overlap the hashed out no-print zone, your machine might not be able to register the calibration marks correctly.  Make sure to keep your designs within the allowed area.

Top Tip # 10 - Offset 'Full Bleed' Trick to Banish White Slivers

I've mentioned this top tip a couple of times before, but it's a real life saver.  Your print and cut could be really pretty good, but sometimes even if it's just a millimeter out, you still might be left with an unsightly white sliver.  Here's an easy trick to combat this: Create an no-cut offset shape which has the pattern or colour fill.

I'm told that professionals in the the printing business call this 'full bleed' printing. See the example below where the red cut line is inside the wider blue printed circle:

Full bleed offset trick for trouble shooting print and cut on Silhouette.  Tutorial by Nadine Muir for Silhouette UK


I love print and cut and use it often, so know that dreaded feeling if the registration fails or the cut is misaligned!  I hope that these tips will help you trouble-shoot any issues you encounter and will lead you back to perfect print and cuts again!

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